October 18, 2021

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Mom and dad of teen overdose victim make plea to all dad and mom: Be wary of kids’ social media activity

The dad and mom of a 16-year-outdated California boy who died following overdosing on drugs purchased on Snapchat designed a plea to parents, Friday, to be cautious of their kids’ exercise on social media apps.

Dr. Laura Berman and her husband Samuel Chapman joined “America’s Newsroom” to share their tale and discuss their petition to permit applications to give parents oversight of their kids’ social media usage in the wake of their son Sammy’s tragic dying.

“It was the pandemic we ended up sheltering at household,” Berman commenced. “Our rule with our kids was as extensive as they ended up accomplishing very well in university, they could be on social media as significantly as they needed simply because it was the only way they could relate to and be with their pals.”

Berman explained to host Dana Perino that even though she and her partner warned their youngsters “incessantly” about inappropriate content material on the net, they experienced no plan that drug dealers were working with popular applications to concentrate on young children.

“Drug sellers had been mainly preying on our children and all young ones on the web, sending them ads for all types of medication, that they would just deliver a person Percocet or just one Xanax sent to your property like a pizza,” Berman explained.

A drug dealer approached Sammy on Snapchat in February previously this yr and made available to promote him Xanax, which Berman and Chapman afterwards found was illicitly laced with fentanyl.

“He experienced no intention of using that,” Berman stated. “And due to the fact this has occurred, we’ve heard of hundreds of tales from other mom and dad in which the very same point has transpired.”

Berman and Chapman have garnered much more than 32,000 signatures on a petition asking TikTok, Snapchat and Discord, in particular, to allow parents to have more management over their kids’ activity by 3rd-bash basic safety applications like Bark.

Bark takes advantage of algorithms to warn moms and dads when it detects likely dangers on their kids’ social media activity on applications that permit its program, together with Facebook’s Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, which are popular among the younger end users.

Berman explained that although Snapchat “confirmed a lot of sympathy” for what transpired and instructed them they have been operating internally to upgrade their application, they “failed to have an remedy” about making it possible for parenting-monitoring application systems to be made use of in the meantime.

A Snapchat spokesperson explained in a assertion that the firm “strictly” prohibits “drug-related action” on the platform and “aggressively” enforces violations of its policies, as effectively as supports “regulation enforcement in their investigations.”

“Social media now has to choose, do they want to be aspect of a useful lifetime-saving conversation in between dad and mom and kids, or do they want to keep allowing youngsters die?” Chapman responded.

“Thousands of small children are currently being exposed not only to medication and drug dealers who are preying on them, but, you know, prostitution and pornography and all sorts of horrific information,” Berman added. “It definitely is like the dim website for little ones right now.”

Chapman recommended mother and father to get the usernames and passwords of all on-line platforms their kids are on and to continue to keep Narcan nasal spray in medicine cabinets in case of emergency.

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“They are lacing even marijuana with fentanyl,” he warned. “So if there’s any likelihood that your baby could try out a marijuana cigarette in their teens, you may have to have this Narcan nasal spray.”

“The strategy that you might be not likely to do some thing about it and you’re likely to sit there and just allow it take place like it took place to us, we never want you to do that.”

Fox Business’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.